scribbles tagged ‘cars’

midgets, geese, guns and cycles

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Day 6: October 26th

mgmidgetDSCN1002 (2) 1) Classic cars, an MG midget rattles around in the SUV sized road lanes.

2) Laid-back wildlife, a flock of Canadian geese wander around a suburban road (I’d lost the route again)

DSCN1014 (2)3) My guns bigger than yours, a big black SUV demonstrates the owners gun-toting capabilities with a big gun box.

Sapulpa (12)4) Cycling families, bicycles on board the carry-all car

The drive through Oklahoma was mainly overcast, threatening rain. The weather reminded me lf British summertime, comfortably familiar.


midgets, geese, guns and cycles
1 vote rating 5

2 bits of fabulous banter »

nice ride

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 | tags: , , , ,  |

Day 7: October 27th

Friendly Americans on the street, and the owners of places I stayed, spontaneously enthused ‘nice ride’. They meant my hire-car, a soft-top Chevy Camaro.

The ride is all show and no punch; a fairly average drive. I did like the impression it had on the public, I imagined it was like driving a Ford Capri in the UK in the 1970’s. I felt like a big kid driving it. I loved it.

My first choice for a car had been a classic 1968 Ford Mustang. How much?!!!!! The price for that, or a classic Cadillac, had been in a different galaxy from my budget. The Camaro rocked it, more than fine.

Texas (10)

nice ride
3 votes rating 4.33

1 wonderful musing »

golden jubilee

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

I’ll be 50 in November

I’m celebrating by doing something that would have inspired me as a teenager:  Driving the original Route 66 in a convertible. Flights and car booked today. Before the internet existed, I purchased paper versions of original maps. Finally, I’ll get to use them!

Friends will be meeting me before the journey, travelling part of the journey with me, and afterwards celebrating in my old home town of Seattle.  Finding a convertible to rent in Chicago, in late October, is not an easy task. So there’s already been some hard work and I’ve compromised. No Mustang…..

EXCITED levels are vibrating towards amber

Between now and October I’m collecting potential sights and stops on a Pinterest board:

Being wendy, I’ll be visiting train stations, Bus stations, Cemeteries and Court houses along the way.  Please suggest unusual places to visit en-route.


golden jubilee
2 votes rating 5

7 bits of fabulous banter »

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 3)

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Thomas alone in the Carparkwendy:  when I bring Thomas in for his new tyres I’d like you to upgrade the software aswell – but I don’t think I should pay for the software update

Service engineer: (disarming giggles) Good luck! You’re booked in

rate wendys scribble

what do you think of that »

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 2)

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

ParkedDuring Thomas’ annual service the battery was disconnected forcing his onboard computer to reboot. After reboot the Diesel Particle Filter malfunction warning still showed.

The mechanic said the filter looked ok. The nice chap at the Mini Dealership explained that the software might be malfunctioning and would cost me £90 to upgrade.

£90 for a software update!

What?! Software malfunctioning? Software not doing what it was designed to do? That sounds like a programming bug to me, a design fault. Software doesn’t suffer from ‘wear and tear’ like mechanical components. It sounds like Mini manufacturers, BMW, are passing on the cost of fixing their poor original workmanship to their customers! Atrocious. Most software providers release free fixes for software bugs. Hmmmmm…..

An internet search suggested that driving above 40 mph consistently for 10 minutes on a regular basis should burn-off the diesel particles and remove any mechanical problem – if one actually exists. There were lots of discussion forums talking about the warning light showing when there was no malfuntion on BMW cars. Consistent with an actual software design fault.

I changed my driving pattern to include regular periods of driving over 40mph for 10 minutes. Bye Bye to beautiful back-road Oxfordshire. The warning sign still showed. Sigh.

Time to re-visit those lovely chaps at MiniCooper Reading…

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of fabulous banter »

Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction (part 1)

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

I love it when my car talks sexy to me like this. Really Thomas is saying, phone those nice boys at the Mini Service centre, you know you want to. And he’s right, I do want to and I do call them. On the phone I slowly, precisely say to the service centre chappy

I’ve got a Diesel Particle Filter Malfunction, Yeah, really, I have

He giggles

rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »

all you can do is complain

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

After recieving a note in the post from the Royal mail saying they had tried to deliver a package, but it was too big to go through my door, it hadn’t been left with a nieghbour and it hadn’t been left at my local post office, I decided to drive to work via the delivery centre where it would be stored for pick it up.

I bounced into the delivery centre, handed over my note and my ID to the delivery centre staff (DCS). The DCS looked at the note and ID, grunted, then shuffled off away without a word, pressumably to get my parcel:

DCS: your parcel isn’t here

wendy: can I arrange to have it delivered to a local post office?

DCS: No, we can only send things to a post office once we have them here

wendy: can I phone the number on the note and get them to arrange delivery to my local post office?

DCS: No, we dont know where your parcel is so we cant arrange to deliver it anywhere

wendy: what can I do?

DCS: Complain

I chose not to complain, instead I waited a couple of days, called the number and discovered there was nothing in the fully automated phone menu system that could tell me whether the Royal mail knew where my parcel was. The delivery centre did not answer the phone.

At the delivery centre I happily picked up my parcel a momento from my time in the USA. The girl who bought LooSea, my car, has sent me Loosea’s number plate from 2001:

personalised number plate

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of fabulous banter »

touring the car parks

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

A Sunday trip to picturesque Winchester started well until I reached the small city. Apparantly every car owner in the south east was trying to find somewhere to park in the tiny city. In the course of a very slow moving hour I managed to circle more than 5 large, full, car parks. Helpful pedestrians coming out of car parks would wave frantically at me and make gestures to indicate the park was full. There is no standard gesture for car park full, there were some innovative and amusing attempts.

The Chesil RectoryBy the time we arrived at the downtown pub for Sunday lunch it was full with a long queue drinking in the bar. Walking out of the city we stumbled on this fabulous restaurant. The building was originally constructed in 1480! We felt very lucky that all the people had pushed us towards this ancient treasure – The Chesil Rectory

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of fabulous banter »

beware low flying cars

Saturday, December 4th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

car wreckThe commute to work down the icy back roads of Oxfordshire has been spiced up by the occassional snow flurry and the black ice. Clearly there is some form of adult bumper car game going on. Some drivers drive slowly so as not to take part, others get frustrated at travelling slowly and indulge in risky overtaking. Others just head for the treed hedgerow…


….then wait to be flown-out, like this little black number. Thomas just pootles along at a reasonable speed trying not to harrass the cautious or impatient drivers, its a thin line.

Thin black ice

rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »

to apply or not to apply

Sunday, September 19th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

small car blocking 2 driveways at onceWhen my neighbours house was built in what used to be the substantial Wendy House garden they were given the on-street parking permit for the Wendy House. They were required to build a tandem double driveway for the Wendy house and the Wendy House is no longer entitled to an on street parking permit. Every year the Council sends me two application forms for on street parking permits that I am not entitled to.

I’m considering applying despite my lack of eligibitiy, incase they actually give me a permit. Then I will be able to park near my home when another car blocks my driveway.

rate wendys scribble

4 bits of fabulous banter »

slap a pretty girl on it – that will sell it

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

 Walking to the train station I watch the car drivers sat in the rush hour traffic jams.

Mainly men in executive accessory cars. The BMW’s drivers wearing reflective wrap-around sunglasses as the drizzle obscures the light. Most of the cars are single occupancy. I see a few girls driving older, smaller cars.

car advetising strategiesOn the train station I see this advert. A subtler form of the classic 1970’s advertising. The girl isn’t wearing a bikini and isn’t draped across the bonnet in high heeled red shoes. It feels like the world is stepping backwards to those 1970 values covering them in the  gloss of a slightly different spin. I might have aspired to owning an Alfa Romeo if they hadn’t irritated me with this advertising campaign.

Why even try to sell new cars to girls when they can’t get the jobs to afford such expensive products. Adverts for men where girls are little more than entertainment and adornment. Popular TV programmes promote girls in this secondary role, reinforcing looking good, marrying well. I mourn the optimism of the 1980’s when for a few years I believed that things were changing for the better.

If you ignore details like during a job interview I was asked if I was sleeping with one of my job referees because the reference was so good. Obviously it couldn’t be accurate….  I didn’t get offered the job, my references were suspiciously good…

Or there was when I took my car into a garage to be serviced in 1993 and they asked me when my husband would be turning-up to pay for the service. Sigh. I guess things never really did change and I’m just staying sane by living in a dream world…

rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »

drivers for change

Friday, July 2nd, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

To celebrate a year of togetherness with Thomas, Excel has reviewed the financial side of our relationship.  This is what Excel says:. 

  • £350.00 (approx) Fully comp insurance with lots of nice stuff
  • £35.00 (approx) annual MOT
  • £33.00 (approx) annual road tax
  • £350.00 (approx) Service costs for a car with over 80K milage
  • £830.53 (exact) Diesel costs

This is less than the annual financial cost of commuting to and from work using public transport and on foot.  At a non financial level Thomas cuts 2 hours a day from that commute time, an uncomfortable journey, no seats, 2 changes that involve standing outside and jostling to get a place on the next stage of the journey. 

Changing my commute will be a core driver for changing my job…

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of fabulous banter »


Friday, June 18th, 2010 | tags: ,  |

As I hand Thomas’s key over to the MOT testing centre receptionist ….

receptionist: do you have a key for the car?

wendy: that’s the key

receptionist: a metal key

wendy: a metal key slides out, but I’ve no idea where you can use it

rate wendys scribble

2 bits of fabulous banter »

kiss in the shade

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 | tags: , , ,  |

  A slightly dodgy habit that I picked up during my miss-spent youth mingling with ‘Transport studies’ students is a tendancy to kiss beautiful vehicles.  In the UK I once had the misfortune to freeze my lips to a Ferrari.  In Turin I burnt them on an Alfa Romeo.  Can you see the lip marks on these beauties?


rate wendys scribble

2 bits of fabulous banter »

up norvie

Sunday, January 24th, 2010 | tags: , ,  |

Blagrave Street Taxi rankwendy: Northumberland Avenue please

Taxi driver: how far up Norvie do you want to go?

wendy: what do you mean by ‘up Norvie’?

Taxi driver: that’s what we call Northumberland Avenue

wendy: near the Angling store,  who are ‘we’?

Taxi driver: taxi drivers

rate wendys scribble

2 bits of fabulous banter »

car cough phone me

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |



Egyptian road traffic (car, people, horses, cows, goats, carts) work out what to do based on local circumstances rather than any obvious rules.    A free market for its users, a  self-regulating system

Pedestrians. Cairo traffic and roads were a persistent source of fascination. Pedestrians loiter in groups chatting along the roadside, waiting for minibuses and taxes. The spill out onto dual carriageways, they weave between the traffic as the cross roads

4 men and a cow in a chevroletPassengers. Health and safety culture here in Egypt is great fun for people who enjoy not having to follow over-documented common sense for those without it.   The odd free-standing cow in the back of a truck was a common site

Prangs. I was only involved in one car accident during my stay. Judging by the dents and general ‘finnish’ of the cars ‘minor’ accidents are fairly common and not worthy of repair. After our accident the drivers stopped, got out, and argued passionately with arms waving for about 2 minutes then drove away, calm

horse drawnPeeps.  the car horn mainly says ‘don’t move any closer that’s where I am (going)‘.   One of my taxi drivers found this particularly useful when he decided to drive the wrong way down what looked like a one way street.   The sound of car horns is a constant background noise to the city.

Sometimes the sound morphs to music before sliding back to


rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »

car sick

Monday, November 16th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Prefab Sprout put their finger on a fundamental truth when they pointed out that some things hurt much more than cars and girls. Cars and girls have been kind to me so far, some things have been less forgiving, for example Dentists, Ski Lifts and Curb Stones

Prefab Sprout sang Cars and Girls

rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »

£300 per week

Saturday, July 18th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

storing automotive containers over the recession..The natural harbour at Falmouth is one of the cheapest places to store large, unused, container ships.

We counted 7 of these large automotive carrier ships stored in the tiny, otherwise picturesque, Falmouth harbour.   The ships are waiting for the automotive industry to either come out of recession or decide to send them to the scrap yard.

rate wendys scribble

4 bits of fabulous banter »

getting somewhere

Monday, June 29th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

In 1991  I  invested in driving lessons,  passed my  test, bought a  Diesel Engine car, and regularly drove the A68    wishing the road, daylight and hope would last forever.

Tracey Chapman sings fast car

rate wendys scribble

4 bits of fabulous banter »


Monday, May 4th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Whilst concentrating on driving home through the outstanding Oxfordshire countryside I am everywhere-aware and nowhere.   The journey lasts as long as a daydream,   a CD,    15 Johnny Cash songs, 20 miles.   Suprisingly, Thomas didn’t warm to Johnny Cash,   on the other handbrake,   Dusty definitely pumps  his petrol Diesel.  

Dusty Springfield bounced us to In the middle of nowhere

rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »


Friday, April 24th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Thomas FlirtingThomones are like pheromones,   you can’t see, hear or smell them but they affect the behaviour of  those around them.   In Thomas’s case he clearly affects the behaviour of Mini’s that come within car parking distance.   Either these Mini’s are stalking him or they find impact of his Thomones too much to resist.   Maybe  the Mini’s natural habitattery is in a  herd, or convoy,   maybe that’s why they were used for the Italian job.

Mini herding behaviour demonstrated:

rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »

gotta feel for my automobile

Monday, April 20th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |


Emotional attatchments to animate, vibrating, warm, supportive, stylised objects.   It happens.   You may have noticed my recent focus on my new comrade, Thomas.   I’ll try to keep my enthusiasm away from the too-tedious-for-700-yawns range.   Try.

This week I’ve been humming an appropriate  Queen song from their debut album A night at the Opera.

Queen sang  I’m in love with my car

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of fabulous banter »

Thomas with a tank engine

Friday, April 17th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Please indulge in a  brief, chirpy, round of applause to welcome Thomas with  the Diesel tank engine to the Wendy House team.   He growls in the morning but purrs after he’s had a little run.   Just like my first Diesel engine car.  

Thomas V2

In his first few days Thomas has already become the star of the Wendy House travelling show:

Person in car park (PICP): Have you bought a car then?

Wendy:   Yes

PICP: It’s not the Mini?!   (raises pitch towards end of sentence)

Wendy:   It’s the mini

PICP: OH, such a lovely colour

rate wendys scribble

6 bits of fabulous banter »

cannot change dates

Thursday, April 16th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

In some circumstances computer systems can deliberately stop people from making ‘Errors’.    This is an  example of a system preventing the people that use it from making ‘errors’ by trying to do rather useful things:    

Wendy:   can I move the car insurance start date back by one week?

Car Insurance Agent (CIA):   No

Wendy:   Oh (signifying complete suprise at this rude treatment of a potential non-customer)

CIA:   you will have to cancel the whole policy and then open a completely new one with a different start date

Wendy:   Computer system makes you do that?   It wont let you just change start dates?

CIA:   Yes

It took us 30 minutes to cancel,   then re-apply for the same car insurance with a different start date.   2 sets of documents are in the post.    

Wendy:   Are you from Hull?

CIA:   Leeds,   its quite near to Hull

Good weather in Leeds.

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of fabulous banter »

alan’s tips

Friday, April 10th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Words of wisdom from  an almost stranger*.   In this case a Mini dealership sales person of a Canadian persuasion gave me this tip:


If you enjoy driving, and want a Diesel, I  wouldn’t recommend the Mini One Diesel.    The Mini Cooper Diesel is much more fun, its in a completely different class.


I didn’t accept this tip on face value,    I test drove a Mini One Diesel.   Not fun.    I did enjoy driving the Mini Cooper Diesel,   though I found all the superflous fancy stuff,  such as internal lighting schemes  more embarressing than stylish.  



*  past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser.   Lucia the hairdresser, an anonymous  manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant, a bus stop philanthropist  and Reading Police

rate wendys scribble

2 bits of fabulous banter »

popping sensible pills

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Family House enjoyed breakfast  with the  live BBC  coverage of the  boys in the Melbourne F1 race:

It’s not over yet (lap 30 of 58)

Fisichella has missed his box,   Fisichella has  previous for missing the box

he’s just had a moment

we’ve lost a Renault

The Maclaren has clearly got the grunt,   it just hasn’t got the grip

he’s just popped a sensible pill

It’s a living thing an F1 race

Lots of excitement  was consumed and Tea spilt.    The outstanding performance by the former Honda Formula 1 racing team,    beautifully demonstrate how an asset sold-off by a retrenching multinational company (Honda) can quickly turn their product into an inspiration following a management buyout.       But then the shine was taken off the win by the subsequent announcement of substantial redundancies.  

Hoorah!… Oh!


rate wendys scribble

1 wonderful musing »

on not selling cars: clearly clunky

Sunday, March 29th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Stopping at  the AA approved dealership with the low mileage Mini One D for sale:

Sales:   there’s virtually no difference between the old and new model  Mini D’s,   except the styling and I prefer the styling in the old model.  

Wendy:   they have different Engines,   the old one is a Toyota Yaris,   I don’t know what the new one is.   A different  engine  seems like a  significant difference.

Sales: Coopper Diesel has a Peugeot engine

Wendy:   My last car in the UK was a 5yr old Peugeot 309    1.9 Diesel in 1992, an awesome Engine, the car took me for 46,ooo miles in 1 yr with nothing other than standard wear and tear.

Sales: [silence]

Later,   while driving the Mini

Wendy:   that is a VERY  clunky gearbox,  

Sales:   is it?  

Wendy:   No I was lying to get the price down, have you actually drivien this car?   its clearly clunky

Later,   on the forecourt after no beverage has been offered and no-one has asked to take my name, phone number,   other contact details or manage the conversation:

Wendy:   what sort of discount would you give me for  having no car to  trade-in part exchange?

Sales:   none

Wendy: what sort of discount would you give me if I could arrange a cash purchase

Sales:    none

Wendy:   do you actually  want to sell this car,   I know its been on your books for at least 3 weeks

Sales: we can’t get enough good quality second hand cars,   with the recession  the second hand business is good

Wendy:   I’ll look at the other Mini’s on my list and talk to the dealers  and might  get back to you if this one is still a possibility

rate wendys scribble

6 bits of fabulous banter »

on not selling cars

Friday, March 27th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Wendy:   Hello

AA Approved Car Dealership Sales Person (Sales):   Hello

Wendy:   My name’s Wendy and I’m interested in the used Diesel Mini advertised on your website.

Sales: Yes

Wendy:   It has suprisingly low mileage, do you know why?

Sales: The owner has 4 other cars and spends most of their time abroad,   its mainly sat in their garage, its in excellent condition.   I’ve known them for 25 years.

Wendy: Oh (signifying impressed by people with sufficient funds to buy a car to  store it)   could I book a time to test drive it?

Sales: Yes

Wendy:   I live 21 miles away, in Reading

Sales: If you tell me when you arrive I can pick you up from the local train station

Wendy: to catch a train I’d have to go into London and then come out again,   it would take more than 90 minutes, and at least 2 train rides.   Could you possibly bring the car over to Reading?

Sales: No, we don’t do that

Wendy: Oh (signifying suprise at the sales person’s lack of conversational charm or any effort put into  actually attempting sell the car)

Sales: we can’t leave the office unstaffed.  

Wendy:   I can get there on (date/time) would that work for a test drive?

Sales:   Are you interested in buying it then?

Wendy:   No, I just fancied a day trip out and a free drive in someoneelses second hand mini for the hell of it

Wendy:   yes

rate wendys scribble

2 bits of fabulous banter »

living too close

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

The following conversations happened within a 5 min time frame:

person 1: would you like a lift home Wendy?

wendy: thanks for asking,   I just live around the corner, I’ll walk

person 2:   Wendy,   can I give you a lift home?

wendy: thanks,   its so lovelly out and I live so near that I’d like to walk

while walking home a convertible car with the top down and an Oakly sunglasses-wearing driver  curb crawls by me

person 3: can I give you a lift anywhere wendy

wendy:   thanks for offering,   its such a lovely day and I only live round the corner so I’ll walk

There are clear signs that my social life would improve if I lived further away or accepted lifts for distances of less than 500 yards on a sunny day.

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of fabulous banter »

reliant robin

Sunday, March 15th, 2009 | tags:  |

Reliant RobinThe Reliant Robin is a design classic.   Some of my early courting experiences were in a Reliant Robin.   This one appears to be in need of more than the average tender loving care as it is taken off the streets of Reading.

rate wendys scribble

3 bits of fabulous banter »